Plan Towards 2019 Afcon, Mabo Tells Eagles
Says Beating Egypt To 2017 Ticket Will Be Difficult
FORMER Super Falcons coach, Ismaila Mabo, says it would be difficult for the Super Eagles to beat the Pharaohs of Egypt to the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations ticket.
Mabo featured for the then Green Eagles in his playing days and was part of Mighty Jets squad that won the National League for the first time in 1972 after the club’s numerous failed attempts to win the F.A. Cup in the 50s and 60s.
He played alongside legends such as Sam Garba, Sule Kekere, Baba Otu Mohammed, Layiwola Olagbemiro and Gabriel Babalola for the Jos-based team, which was formerly known as Plateau Highlanders.
As coach of the Super Falcons, Mabo led the team to win the inaugural African Women Championship (AWC) in 1998 and went on to lead the girls to their best ever performance (quarterfinal) at USA ‘99 FIFA Women’s World Cup. He also led the Falcons Team B to win a gold medal at Abuja 2003 All African Games. Till date, his records as coach of the Falcons are yet to be broken.
Speaking with The Guardian from his base in Jos yesterday, Mabo advised handlers of the Super Eagles and officials of the NFF to focus on how to build a formidable team in readiness for 2019 AFCON qualifiers instead of putting all hope in Gabon 2017 ticket.
“It will be a difficult task picking the ticket ahead of Egypt for 2017, Mabo said. “I am saying this because Egypt is a great football-playing nation and for those of us who know the football rivalry between Nigeria and Egypt, I can say the journey is as good as over for the Super Eagles as far as the 2017 AFCON ticket is concern.
The Sunday Oliseh-led Super Eagles are in Group G of the qualifying series for Gabon 2017 alongside Egypt, Tanzania and Chad with the Pharaohs of Egypt leading the group with six points, while Eagles have four points. Tanzania and Chad are having one and zero point respectively.
For coach Mabo, the Egyptians will do everything possible to protect their two pints advantage against Nigeria saying: “We need to put into consideration the pedigree of a football country in this mathematical calculation.
Every football tricks we are planning in Nigeria, the Egyptians are doing the same in Cairo. Sincerely speaking, it will be a great miracle for the Eagles to get the 2017 ticket,” Mabo stated.